Team Bentley has confirmed the final details of its 2003 racing programme, registering two-car entries for both Le Mans and Sebring and tabbing ex-Formula One drivers Johnny Herbert, David Brabham and Mark Blundell to drive the second car.

The team hopes that, with Audi not fielding a works team either at Le Mans or in the American Le Mans Series of which Sebring is a part, this will be the year in which Bentley returns to the top of the sportscar racing field with outright victories in both classic marathon events. Both will be contested by two new Bentley Speed 8 prototypes, which have been redesigned from the ground up for 2003, with the Herbert/Blundell/Brabham car being partnered by another for ex-Audi men Tom Kristensen and Rinaldo Capello, as well as Guy Smith, who raced for Bentley on its return to Le Mans two years ago and acted as official test driver in 2002.

Herbert, Blundell and Brabham form possibly the strongest line-up in sportscar racing today, especially following the break-up of the Audi crew which has won Le Mans for the past three seasons. Between them, they share 246 grand prix starts and, while both Herbert and Blundell are also previous Le Mans winners, Brabham has frequently shown himself to be one of the foremost sportscar pilots of recent years, having competed with Panoz in the American Le Mans Series for the past four seasons.

While Brabham struggled with the LMP-01 in 2002, both Herbert and Blundell enjoyed good outings with their respective teams. Herbert came close to winning the ALMS title at his first real attempt, only being stopped by the Joest Audi juggernaut which he also represented at Sebring and Le Mans. Blundell, meanwhile, returned to La Sarthe with MG, running at the front of the LMP675 category.

Sebring is seen as critical to the team's preparations for Le Mans - which remains its main aim in 2003. For over 50 years, the race has competed with the Daytona 24 Hours as the most prestigious endurance race in the America but, with the Daytona regulations currently rendering the Speed 8 ineligible, it was clear where Team Bentley should make its return to American soil.